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Harold Farberman On His Opera "The Losers"

Published May 30, 1971

In an interview with Charles Amirkhanian composer Harold Farberman discusses his opera "The Losers," which was premiered on March 26, 1971, at the Juilliard Opera Theater, Lincoln Center, to an astonished audience which witnessed the saga of a motorcycle gang complete with chain whippings and a gang rape. Farberman begins by giving a detailed synopsis of the work, which tells the story of a fight for control of a motorcycle gang and was intended as a meditation on violence in society. Early reviews that emphasized the violent and graphic sexual nature of the work, as well as a belief that it was meant as a depiction of the Hells Angels, led to rumors that the famed motorcycle club was going to disrupt the remaining performances and police had to surround the concert hall so as to protect the participants and audience. Farberman describes how he sought to break with European opera tradition and create a theater event which relates to people living in the United States both theatrically and musically. The composition included pre-recorded tapes, electronically amplified instruments, a highly unusual brass and percussion oriented pit orchestra, jazz quartet, and two jazz singers who are onstage throughout the work.

Run time 24 min


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on 10/30/2012